Poll results: Watkins wins overwhelmingly

February, 26, 2014
Feb 26
8:30
AM ET
Say this about those who vote in Cleveland Browns polls: They speak with a united, loud voice.

After more than 4,400 votes about the Browns' selection with the fourth overall pick, 57 percent voted for receiver Sammy Watkins of Clemson.

That’s an enormous result when five realistic options are presented.

Watkins received more votes than the other four combined.

The strength of the result is surprising. Though I’ve advocated for Watkins, I thought the feelings for the quarterbacks would carry the vote. In the business, this is called “having your finger on the pulse.”

Clearly there is fan concern about the top three quarterbacks, and clearly the voters feel much stronger about an offensive weapon than a pass-rusher.

Perhaps it is becoming a passing league.

The positives about Watkins are many. As coach Mike Pettine said, he’s a dynamic playmaker who can score any time he touches the ball. Like Josh Gordon, he’s big and fast. The combination of the two with Jordan Cameron at tight end would, in Watkins’ words, create nightmares for the defense.

The negatives: He’s not a quarterback, and with a draft rich in receivers, the Browns could still wind up with a good receiver later in the first round or early in the second or third if they choose to go with a quarterback first.

One potential negative was scoffed at by Pettine, who said the “last thing” he worries about is keeping everyone happy in an offense that would include Gordon and Watkins.

Clearly those who voted like the potential pairing of the two, a pairing that on paper at least could make any quarterback better.

The votes reflect the public feeling about the top quarterbacks. All have talent; all have questions.

Central Florida’s Blake Bortles finished second with 14 percent of the vote, even though he may take the longest to be NFL ready. Bortles’ size simply cannot be ignored.

He finished just ahead of Johnny Manziel (13 percent) and Teddy Bridgewater (11). Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney -- whose potential seems every bit as great as Watkins’ -- received just 5 percent of the vote.

Manziel didn’t even carry Texas, where Watkins had 42 percent to Manziel’s 19. Watkins carried 45 states and was tied in three others. The only states he didn’t carry were the great states of Montana and Delaware, where Bortles and Clowney received the sole vote cast.

The voters turned a deaf ear to the hype about Manziel and Clowney.

After going through the “next greatest thing” deal for so long, maybe Cleveland has become cynical to the chatter.

What it does not seem cynical about is the offensive potential with Watkins and Gordon lining up on the same team.

Pat McManamon

ESPN Cleveland Browns reporter

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